Well, a dose of reality finally hit me today. I think that although I have missed my husband greatly, having the comfort of friends and family to surround and love on me during this time has had me floating around on a surreal cloud of denial, not willing to admit the cold hard truth that I will be moving 641 miles south to a place that I have only stepped foot in for less than 72 hours.
That cloud of denial ended once the smell of cardboard started to invade my home and the goodbyes started coming in quickly from all the special people in our lives.
A good friend from out of town came last week and helped me pack up. She started when I was at a doctors appointment and when I returned she had so many boxes already packed and bear shelves were staring me down in sadness. I don’t know why this caught me off guard so much… but that is when the inner sting began and I realized that although this was a hard initial act of obedience… it was about to get even harder before it gets easier. From that time last Thursday until today, I have walked through more emotions than I knew I had.
Moving is hard. I get that. I remember feeling the same way when we moved from my childhood hometown to our dream city of Wilmington. But this time… well it just seems so much more difficult.
Over the past few months I have surrendered my hopes and dreams of what I wanted to “do” to this whole house of ours. At one time, there was even a hashtag devoted to all of the renovations and goals we had set for this little ranch home of ours. I walked through for weeks letting my dreams go and giving those over to the Lord saying out loud His promises. That one day, we would see our dreams of having a home come to pass.
I said goodbye to our Christian school that we had prayed about and literally fought for with all of our financial being to keep our first born in a an environment where she could grow in the things of the Lord and be secure in who she is, while being homeschooled part-time so that she could learn what being a BIG sister really means. I said goodbye to all of this and once again spoke the words out loud, that God would restore this dream and that He is a much greater Daddy than we could ever be. He would provide.
I grew and took great pride in a business of redoing furniture. A gift that I never really knew I had, but found myself loving every minute of it. I surrendered it once I found out we were moving. I knew that God was asking me to lay it down for a season. And it hurt. I didn’t want to give it up, but I once again stated out loud His promises. One day He would pick it back up when the time was right and it would flow with even more favor than it had before.
And most recently, the stuff. Over the last 4 days it is almost as if my belongings have grown legs and walked up out of this house of mine. Wilmington Yard Sales and I have become BFF on Facebook and the girls have grown more and more confused at how many strangers have come to haul off so many things that carry much more than a price tag. But a memory. There was the table that I had purchased from a yard sale right out of college that I paid $25 for and struggled to pay that with my new teacher salary. There was the rug that we began homeschool Kindergarten on and learned how to read while sitting criss cross apple sauce. There was the blanket chest that we had purchased just two short weeks after our honeymoon. And so many more.
But out of all this hardness… the thing that wrecks me the most is the people. I cannot even begin to describe in words how hard this has been to say goodbye to so many people in this town.
When the Lord moved us here just 5 years ago, I remember very clearly standing in the kitchen of our new rental home and crying to Wade about not knowing anyone. I questioned whether my shy self could ever meet new friends. I was terrified to drive on the busy roads and what if I got lost? I was nervous about going to parks by myself and I was even more afraid that I would not “find my place.” What if no one liked me? I remember all of these fears like they were swirling through my head yesterday. Looking back, God has proven His mighty power simply by how He has grown me, strengthened me and given me a voice that I didn’t know I had. He is provided me with boldness and grown me spiritually so much that I know without a doubt that I am not the same person I was just 5 years ago. But through all of that growth, through all of those mistakes of learning my identity and finding my voice, He has given me such incredible friends and community.
Friends who have loved me through all of the hard places.
You loved me through the job losses, the times when I cussed and fell to my knees in discouragement because this life is just REAL hard sometimes. You loved my children through some of the most difficult seasons we had yet to experience. When there wasn’t groceries, you provided. When there wasn’t Christmas presents, you gave. When there was no income, you showed up at our doorstep with open hands. You cooked dinners for this mama when I had babies. And when my husband left for Tampa. You have made my girls smile every Sunday when they came to church. You have spoken beautiful words over their little faces and have given me more journal entries than I can count that one day when they are older, they will read your powerful words and know that God was speaking directly to them. You visited us with every hospital visit and some of you even helped me celebrate a special 5 year old while her little sister recovered in the pediatric center from a bad case of the flu. You filled our backyard with every occasion to celebrate our growing family and you supported every business endeavor we have ever attempted. You shopped our booth when we needed furniture to be cleared out and you hid your tears when we announced we were moving to Florida, simply because you WANTED to be excited for us, despite the real emotion you may have felt.
I cry as I write this. I just can’t write it all. There is no possible way to put the last 5 years of greatness into a blog that would justify our thankfulness for each person who has been a part of our journey.
The other day, when my friend and I were packing, we took down Wade and I’s engagement photo. It’s huge and we paid a ridiculous amount of money for a picture that is too big and shows our every flaw because it’s so close up. But around that over sized picture are words from those that attended our wedding and written in big, bold letters typed in script writing reads the words “The Journey Begins.” I am pretty sure that Wade and I had no clue as to how good, how difficult, how amazing this journey would truly be. Nor, did we realize how much those very words would take form in two lives that didn’t even think of Jesus that much when we decided to “tie the knot.” It’s amazing how God has truly prepared a way for us even when we think we can control it.
So… as we begin this new journey and as I navigate through all of the mixed emotions and the sacrifices that I feel come with each new challenge from the Lord, I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for loving us the way that you have loved us. I know there will always be a part of me that will call Wilmington home, no matter where life takes us.
and so… The Journey Begins. once more.